VEGIE GARDEN UPDATE

One good thing about all this rain we’ve been having is that the vegie garden has not required too much attention this summer. I was planning on letting it go dormant this summer and let the nastursiums run rampant, as last summer it just seemed too much effort to water it regularly to keep it alive. But the rain has meant I could still give it a go with minimal effort.

I planted my baby tomatoes…(well, actually my Mum did as they’d been sitting in their punnets in the laundry for weeks & I was never going to get around to it!)….back in November
- I remember hearing once not to plant your tomatoes until after Melbourne Cup Day.
With all of the rain, the plants themselves have thrived, even if the fruit was a little slow. Possibly the last tomatoes to ripen in the whole of Melbourne, we have finally had our first ripe baby tomatoes! A few weeks ago, I added some basil, parsley and marigolds alongside the tomatoes. A few lettuces and a pumpkin had self- seeded, along with some additional tomato plants. The self-seeding tomatoes have so far produced the most fruit…interesting…

However, pride of place in our vegie garden at the moment goes to a tall and luscious silverbeet plant that you no doubt don’t remember me mentioning that Goose planted as a seed at the school gardening club last year. She had thought it was a beetroot….close enough ;) She’s still proud.


This cheeky little Frog doesn’t even like eating tomatoes, but came over from the sandpit (note the state of the hands) to see what I was doing and to pose for a photo.

Her big sister Goose, does however quite enjoy the little tomatoes. So much so that when I sent her outside to collect some last night, I glanced out the window to see her eating the lot! Oh, I didn’t know you meant you wanted me to collect them for the dinner…..!” she said.

Do you have a vegie patch this summer? How is it going?

IN THE GARDEN…

One of the things that sold me this house is the fruit trees in the back yard.

We have finally been able to pick the much anticipated blood plums that have almost broken the branches they are so heavily laden with fruit. We had a blood plum tree in our yard when I was growing up and I have fond memories.

It’s moments like these that I breathe in deeply. Backyard in the summer eating your very own fruit – priceless.

I thought the kids would find the skin a little bitter, so I peeled the first one and they didn’t like it – I think they may have got stuck on the word ‘blood’ – but then after they tried one with the skin on, they wouldn’t stop. Go figure.

I’m sure Frog consumed about 6 or 7 in the space of about 10 minutes.

Our nectarine tree, on the other hand, that last year was our most fruitful, is pretty dismal this year. Most of them have rotted and shrivelled on the tree. Any ideas anyone? Too much water?

Our peach tree, as per usual, has very little fruit and the cockatoos, bats, possums and rosellas have made mince meat of it anyway. We might get one or two if we are lucky when they ripen fully. Must get around to getting some netting…maybe next year…

For more grateful moments head over to Maxabella land.

Addition - Just to keep this blog ‘real’ and to let you know that life is not always so ‘peachy’ (pardon the pun) here ar FGB headquarters – literally ten minutes after publishing this touchy feely little post, Frog emptied the entire contents of her stomach all over herself and the bedsheets. She has kept this up approximately every 10 minutes since then. I am now sitting up with her (and a pile of towels) on my lap feeling not so grateful for those fruit trees after all and wishing we hadn’t made her eat her whole dinner so she could get icecream….

AT MY HOUSE…

We have no side fence in the back yard at the moment as the neighbours have decided to rebuild their garage. Unfortunately our sandpit, fort and cubby house had all been made attached to that garage wall. As a consequence of their short term redundancy, I’ve had to allow digging in other parts of the garden over the last few weeks…

Which has been met with much excitement and creativity. The cubby house stove is now situated right where it should be next to the herb garden. Many beautiful smelling brews are being concocted.

As a quick update for veg. about – herb garden growing fantastically (see below),
vegie garden not so fantastically.

It was back on track after the possum destruction when I put the smelly seaweed fertiliser on it regularly and everything revived amazingly and really started to thrive… until last week when I had a friend over and I forgot the chooks were out… still growing, but quite the worse for wear.

If you’ve been cooking some simple meals of the edible variety, unlike this particular concoction (though so lovingly and carefully made), then head on over here tomorrow and join in the fun of easy peasy dinner winners. It is becoming quite the resource – thanks so much for all of your great recipes every Tuesday!


DIY BIRD FEEDER

“Spring has sprung, the grass has riz,
I wonder where the birdies is?”

anon.


We went for a walk yesterday and collected pine cones from the local golf course* – some to add to the nature collection we started at our friend’s holiday house, where we are currently staying, and some to make some of these….


Attach some twine to a pinecone, smear it in peanut butter** and roll it in some birdseed.

Hang it in a tree and wait for the birds.

So easy for kids (or adults***) to make.


* why are there always pine cones at golf courses?!
**or in this case a delicious peanut butter substitute made of sunflower seeds.
*** thanks MOPS!

FAIRY GARDENS

Guess whose been watching the new Tinkerbell movie and making fairy gardens…..? Can entertain for hours.

The creative thought that went into the bridge, the road, etc. just makes me smile.

I have such fond memories of doing similar things with my sisters when I was a girl. I think we even entered our miniature fairy gardens into the local show! I remember lots of moss, tiny green leaves and white pebbles…


P.S. Have been thinking about this post about nurturing creativity in your children….

P.P.S. For some more adult creativeness go and visit here.

AT MY HOUSE…

At my house we got all excited about our re-stocked vege patch a few weeks ago, but sadly not all is going according to plan. I think Farmer Scarecrow says it all….. it has seen better days….

For the first year and half we had little trouble in our vege patch, a few aphids in the brocoli and a few chicken attacks, but on the whole I have been really impressed with how our plants have thrived and I have really enjoyed the process. This last few months though, I just haven’t had much luck with anything but my rhubarb and nastursiums. Pests are not so fun :0(

Within days of being planted something started eating the tops of the new little seedlings. We had dealt with the snails and slugs and I was sure that it was not them, the chickens have been kept well away, and no caterpillars could cause such destruction so quickly! So I was left to assume either possums or pigeons. On my mother-in-laws advice I have put some of that smelly seaweedy kelp fertilizer stuff on them. She swears that it deterred the possums at her house after they swiped a crop of broad beans at her house. I think it may just be doing the trick, as they are no worse and starting to regrow slowly, but I am also planning the annoying addition of some bird netting to protect my patch.

On the upside though, the blossoms on our stone fruit trees are starting to come out, our little herb garden outside the kitchen door is going strong (although perhaps in need of a prune) and my parsley seems to be reviving itself (after a little magic spray)! You’ll notice the ends are still all eaten but there are new leaves growing from the middle – all hope is not lost for my favourite and most used plants!

Play along with Lou & let us know what is happening at your house.

Or, if you have a vege garden, no matter how small or how well it is flourishing, why not join in with Bellgirl’sveg about’.


AT MY HOUSE…

At my house we tried this fun and easy science experiment.
As far as I know it only works on these particular flowers – snowdrops we always called them.
They are popping up all over the place at the moment. A sign that spring is almost here.

You just pop them into some water with some food coloring in it and overnight the color creeps up the stem and colors the petals.

Play along with Lou’s At My House this week.

Addition – This evening the petals are even more brilliantly colored and these photos (taken this morning) do not do them justice.

AT MY HOUSE…


We’ve got back in to our neglected garden over the past few weeks. The vege garden was getting a little bare & was in desperate need of some new plants.
I am VERY new to the whole gardening thing, but I am really enjoying the process. Particularly as it is something the kids can be involved in too.

An eager budding gardener was very happy to help out. They have a gardening club at school every Friday which she really enjoys (when she remembers it is on!). We planted a beetroot seedling that she had planted from seed at school which she was very proud of. I love her enthusiasm.

Now we just need to keep those pests away! I find this to be the toughest part of gardening.
I’m getting a little more experimental & bold now and we’ve attempted a little bit of ‘companion planting’ this time.

On the advice of ‘Dirt Girl’ we have put broken egg shells around all of the new plants to stop the slugs and snails from eating them.

On the advice of the lady from the nursery, we have put halved egg shells, white side up, on some of the plants to deter the white cabbage moth which apparently sees it and thinks another moth is already there. I hope it works because something has completely destroyed my once thriving parsley plants :0(

We’ve been working hard with our compost heap, which we were lucky enough to inherit when we purchased the house. There are hundreds of fantastic worms that the kids love feeding to the chooks and watching them wriggle in their fingers.

As a fun way to get rid of a whole heap of pruned branches we pulled out our fire drum, had a bon fire & toasted some marshmallows, while sitting on some straw bales we collected that afternoon (handy for farm parties, gardens & chooks). It seems so unusual for us to have time just to spend at home on the weekends that this was a rare and special treat for us.

So that I can join in with Bell Girl, check out my side bar later in the day for what veges we now have in our garden. Fingers crossed that they all survive. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

Pop over to Buttons by Lou Lou & let us know what’s been happening at your house!



P.S. If you are interested in gardening with the kidlets, I really enjoy reading Zippy Zippy’s blog.

MY CREATIVE SPACE – {a vintage farm party}


The farm party, for a soon to be 3 year old, is starting to take shape…..

The invitations are all ready to be given out.

“A Day on the Farm” is a regular read at bedtime at our house.
A classic 1960 golden book from my childhood stash.
I was a little excited when I found all the pages already online at this great little site.
Using just a few of the pages, I changed one or two words here & there to include the birthday boys name & the details of the party and made a very basic little story book invitation.
I’m quite excited by how they turned out.

To help set the mood, last week the kids and I whipped up a scarecrow – I kid you not (or maybe it is obvious!) – in about 20 minutes. Couldn’t believe my luck when we just found the pieces lying around.

THE SCARECROW:

The body – an old bassinet mattress that had seen better days, an old shirt of the husbands, a small scrap of red gingham fabric & some straw (stolen from some unsuspecting chickens).

The head – an old cushion insert & some white cotton fabric bunched up at the back with a rubber band, a hat from the dress up box & some great texta work from the six year old.

All secured onto a bamboo stake (that was already in the garden holding up a dying capsicum plant) & a long stick (found in the back yard) which was unceremoniously rammed through the fabric on the very, very old (my husband slept on it as a baby) mattress.

My very clever Mum made this bunting for me using four gingham fabrics. I used it on market day & it now hangs up in his room. It goes perfectly with the farm theme in my humble opinion. Thanks Mum!


Stay tuned for more ‘farm party’ ideas here in the coming weeks.

Head over to Kirsty’s blog for a creative fix every Thursday.

AT MY HOUSE…


















Not much time to write a post today, but I always like to play along with Lou’s ‘At my house on a Monday, so I thought I’d leave you with some pictures of my house, well, my garden. My favourite part of this house would have to be the fruit trees! These are the ones that I see as I pull into the driveway each day. My citrus trees. Mandarines, oranges & lemons. There is also a small lime tree around the back. The oranges & (tiny) mandarines are just starting to be edible now, which is just perfect as our fruit bowl seems to empty itself far quicker than I can keep up with these days! Should probably juice some for the eldest who is home from school sick today.
Last Christmas (as they are still ripe then) I had visions of dried or candied oranges dipped in dark chocolate as gifts for people, maybe I’ll get around to it this year…. My husband did have a go at making marmalade last year…. didn’t quite work out as planned, but worth another crack at it this year I’d say …

Any orange recipes, or of course lemon recipes, would be very very welcome if you have any!

Come back tomorrow for my weekly easy peasy dinner winners & you might just see oranges feature in one of the meals.

To see what is going on at other houses, head on over to Lou’s house!

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